NBA rumors have been swirling around Dirk Nowitzki. The belief was that Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle was going to be playing his star forward at center for the rest of the season. The Mavericks found some success with a small ball lineup, and they were hoping that it would help them catch up to the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. According to ESPN, the experiment might be over and Nowitzki might be moving back to forward.
Rick Carlisle is one of the more creative basketball minds in the NBA. Since his team was struggling to win games, Carlisle decided to insert Raymond Felton into the starting lineup instead of Zaza Pachulia. Felton is a 6'1", 200-pound guard, while Pachulia is a 6'11", 275-pound center. That changes up the dynamics of the game for the Mavericks. Dallas found success using two perimeter players in Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki at power forward and center respectively.
When the Dallas Mavericks were finding success with Chandler Parsons and Dirk Nowitzki at power forward and center, the front office, led by Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban, started targeting small forwards like Harrison Barnes and Nicolas Batum in free agency this summer. The Mavericks were already outscoring opponents with Parsons and Nowitzki, but adding a guy like Barnes or Batum would have made their front court even more dangerous.
The Dallas Mavericks have admittedly stated that their new small ball lineup wasn't going to win every single game in the NBA. Though the lineup has struggled a little, it doesn't mean that the Mavericks have given up on the idea. If they can figure out a way to alleviate the rebounding issues, then they will use the smaller lineup more frequently because their offensive output can be pretty close to dominant at times.
In the NBA, it is really hard to gauge how effective a starting lineup is after just a week. Chemistry needs time. However, if chemistry can be found, then that's a dangerous weapon for any team in the National Basketball Association. It might not be enough for the Dallas Mavericks to overcome the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors, but it will at least enable them to be more competitive than normal. An NBA Finals appearance still seems out of reach, though.
[Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images]